251614 Taxing Sugary Drinks: The Year in Review

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:30 AM

Julie Greenstein , Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, DC
More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. While many factors promote weight gain, the science is quite clear that sugary drinks are the only food or beverage proven to increase the risk of overweight and obesity. That condition substantially elevates the risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and many other debilitating and costly health problems. Sugary drinks are a natural for taxation.

Half of America's states already tax sugared beverages. Their experiences show that even modest taxes can generate substantial revenue for programs to reduce and prevent obesity or offset related swelling health care costs. Alternatively, taxes on sugary drinks can provide an attractive source of revenue to fill other budget gaps. Increasing sugary drink prices by levying significant excise or other taxes in addition to the current, little-noticed sales tax on sugary drinks -- would encourage more nutritious lifestyles, cut thousands of empty calories from diets, and promote better health.

Efforts to impose taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages accelerated between 2005 and 2010, first appearing at the federal level in proposals to help fund health care reform measures and later moving to a number of states and cities around the country.

During this session, we will provide a status update on tax proposals at the state and local levels.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the rationale for a sugary beverage tax. Understand the issues in the design of a sugary beverage tax.

Keywords: Obesity, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee the Reduction of Sugary Drinks Campaign at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.